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From Nyopang to Wolverhampton: Techi Doria living his English cricket dreams

Arunachal Pradesh’s Techi Doria defies the odds to become the first cricketer from his state to sign with Wolverhampton Cricket Club for the 2024 Birmingham and District Premier League.

Tridip Kr Sharma
T.K. Sharma

Last Updated: 2024-06-24

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

Techi Doria, first cricketer from Arunachal to play for English club

Not so long ago, aspiring cricketers, especially the ones hailing from far Northeast of India, would face taunts of having “no future” in the national cricket scenario. Arunachal Pradesh’s Techi Doria is one among those aspirants who took up cricket in 2014, rebelling against the popular perception about a sport of which the state association was yet to get affiliation from the BCCI.

With bare minimum training facilities, and lack of proper cricket grounds in the frontier state, bordering China, Techi was aware of the harsh reality that it won’t be a cakewalk for him. The extended monsoon, stretching from late March till around September, in this part of the country also added to the list of obstacles for cricket’s slow growth in this region, but for young Techi, those challenges were nothing as he even went against his family’s wishes to follow his passion.

His father, Techi Sonia, is a farmer, and mother, Techi Yania, is in the rural works department. And quite naturally, his family had normal Indian middle-class expectations, which made it even tougher to convince them of a career in sports — that too cricket!

“I started playing cricket in 2014 but it was all for passion. At that time, the sport was at a very nascent stage in my region, we never imagined having a Ranji (Trophy) side,” Techi told SportsBoom.com.

“Cricket dil se aataa hai...chhorega sochne se bhi nahi chhor paya (Cricket comes from the heart. You can’t leave it even if you think of doing so). People advised me that a Northeast cricketer had no future, but a voice inside didn’t allow Techi to give up. And in 2018, when we (Arunachal Cricket Association) got the affiliation, it seemed a new lease of life for all the aspiring cricketers from the state,” he quipped.

Image Credit: Sportstar

Image Credit: Sportstar

“Unlike the other parts of the country, it is difficult to train in the Northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh. The rainy season over there is a bit longer than the rest of India. I have arranged for personal training outside my house. The infrastructure is basic, but it will improve with time,” he said.

Now, a decade later, Techi finds himself as the first Arunachali cricketer to receive a contract from the Wolverhampton Cricket Club, to play for their 2024 Birmingham and District Premier League campaign. The call from the English club, formed in 1888, comes as a recognition of his impressive performances in the Indian domestic circuit across formats.

Once known as the ‘Bob Marley of Indian Cricket’, Techi’s long, braided hair seemed to be of a lead guitarist from one of the Northeast rock bands, but the Arunachali all-rounder’s scores are all composed on the cricket pitch. The 30-year-old might now have got rid of his long hair, but his determination for excelling on the 22-yard strip remains the same as ever.

Hailing from Nyopang village, about 131 kms from state capital Itanagar, Techi was a part of the first ever Arunachal side making its Ranji Trophy debut, after receiving recognition from the BCCI in 2018. But the lack of training facilities back home, forced the side to travel more than six hours for the pre-season Ranji Trophy camp in Assam’s Jorhat district, besides playing many home fixtures in the neighbouring state. Jorhat is about 130 kilometers from Itanagar.

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But we do have the advantage of high-altitude training, which most players prefer,” said the cricketer who also runs a summer camp for budding cricketers in Itanagar and Naharlagun.

Techi Doria

Living the dream

A top-order batter and a handy leg-spinner, Techi has been in prolific form in last season’s domestic competitions, particularly India’s premier four-day domestic tournament — Ranji Trophy. Techi has accumulated an impressive tally of 411 runs at an average of 58.71 in his last four outings, and his notable knocks include half centuries against Sikkim, Mizoram, Hyderabad and Nagaland, helped him earn the ticket to the English club.

“After the domestic season got over, I was approached by an agent with an offer to play for the Wolverhampton Cricket Club. I felt it would be a great learning curve for me to play cricket in the UK, and immediately accepted the offer,” he said.

“It feels great to be the first cricketer from my state to be able to play in the UK, but I feel this is just the start. We have a bunch of talented cricketers, all we need is good exposure and the facilities to train, it will certainly help in the overall health of Arunachal cricket,” he sounded.

For Techi, who hails from one of the remotest parts of India, more so in terms of cricket infrastructure, the trip to England is nothing short of a fairytale. He has been signed for the entire season stretching till September, days before India’s 2024-25 domestic cricket season starts on September 5 with the Duleep Trophy.

Yet to take the field, Techi, meanwhile has met his teammates in the club and found them warm and hospitable. While he is yet to get acclimatised with the conditions there, Techi is keen to experience the challenge of playing in English conditions.

“It will take a while to adjust to the conditions, but as professional cricketers that’s the challenge we want for ourselves. Growing up, we have heard numerous stories about English weather, but it’s a different challenge to come here and perform. That’s the best part of it,” Techi said.

“My teammates and club members have been incredibly supportive and kind to me,” he added.

Mistaken identity

Ever since Techi landed in the city, he’s been repeatedly mistaken as a national from one of India’s neighbouring countries because of his looks. While he’s happy clarifying doubts, he insisted that people around him are curious to know about his state.

“Most people here in England have a wrong conception about the people from Northeast India, as they get confused with us being Chinese or from some other Asian nation. It could be due to lack of knowledge but every time they ask me, it’s in a very respectable way,” he said.   

Wait continues 

A self-confessed Sachin Tendulkar fan, Techi is still awaiting a chance to meet the God of cricket, whose exploits inspired him to take up the sport.

Doria said: “For our generation, Sachin Tendulkar is the God of cricket. On the field, he is incomparable but it’s his off-field humility that impresses me. I’m yet to meet my idol but hopefully one day for sure.”

Tridip Kr Sharma
Tridip Kr Sharma Sports Writer

Tridip Kr Sharma has been covering sports for close to a decade and a half, and served for various leading news outlets in India. He has covered three Olympics, three Commonwealth Games and as many Asian Games, besides numerous Cricket World Cups, bilateral cricket tournaments and Test matches.